Introduction

The many productions of Tove Jansson – “Tove Jansson Companion”

Tove Jansson (1914–2001) was a Finland-Swedish writer and artist, best known for her Moomin books. In our research and publication project, we explore her as a multidisciplinary creator who was able to inspire and affect her audience in numerous ways: as a children’s and youth author, novelist, short story writer, cartoonist, illustrator and painter.

In the adjoining blog, that is to say our logbook, we publish notes and notions from our expedition.IMG-7135

Jansson’s literature and its dialogic relationship with her other artistic endeavours are essential to our project. We examine both her adult fiction and her Moomin texts. Up till now, scholars have often focused on the latter.

IMG_7165The main goal of our project is to produce a general introduction to Jansson’s multifaceted works: “Tove Jansson Companion” (working title). Its emphases are on the ways of narration, thematizations of the self and others, critical contextual questions, as well as the visual and audio-visual facet of Jansson.

Our intention is to combine the results of previous research to novel perspectives and present our thoughts in an accessible yet academically grounded fashion. We aim to show the depth of Jansson’s works and solidify her international status as a diverse author-artist – even when that entails reading the works against the grain.

The members of the project are primarily scholars of literature, but also of art, film and cartoons. Some of us have researched Jansson before, extensively even; the expertise of others is apt to produce new observations.
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Our group consists of Jussi Ojajärvi (P.I.), Sirke Happonen, Tuula Karjalainen, Ralf Kauranen, Kuisma Korhonen, Jyrki Korpua, Maria Laakso, Hanna Lahdenperä, Kimmo Laine, Jarkko Lauri, Kukku Melkas, Andrew Nestingen, Hanna-Leena Määttä, Agneta Rehal-Johansson, Kasimir Sandbacka, and Mia Österlund.

The four-year (2018–2021) project is based in the University of Oulu Literature Programme. We are funded by the Kone Foundation.

(A longer presentation in Finnish has been published here.)